The following is the text from a class I taught at The Crystalline Expo last weekend as a prequel for a class next weekend. If you are interested in more info on the class please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
So often I feel pulled to teach a class. Someone asks and it’s all of a sudden right there in my mind and my heart leaping to get out. This class is one of those and yet not at all one of those. The class came up very organically and the ideas rose and arranged themselves but it was different this time, the magnitude of handing this over to people is so sacred and vital, that the usual joy and exuberance is overshadowed by the weight of getting this class right and to those who need it. I must do this justice and be impeccable in speaking on this subject. Todays talk is just an appetizer on the subject but that doesn’t mean it can’t have substance. The full introductory class with be Sept 28th and I hope some of you will attend.
I think most people who frequent this expo have an understanding that there is a great deal more to the world than is sometimes obvious. Plants have a mission and the bulk of that mission is to help all of us become what is supposed to be our destiny. Our very existence depends on them, they give us oxygen, food, fuel, health, protection and the list goes on and on. They show us wisdom, they provide us with energies in that effect and affect all our bodies, earthly and other worldly, seen and overlooked, known and forgotten. I can’t think of any other substance that does all that plants do much less any healing modality.
Our ancestors knew this and revered the plants for their part in this world. Only as we moved along we decided to stop watching and listening, to stop feeling them working and most importantly to stop appreciating their mission and how it is an integral part of ours. Most of you probably know about The Doctrine of Signatures, it’s old school herbalism dating back to Galen and it gained more popularity in the 1500’s well into the 20th century. It’s said that plants show us what they will treat. We’ll talk more about this in the class on the 28th.
In putting together this talk for today, I’m drawn to talk about some invasive plants. The term invasive can bring up all types of reactions, but the connotation isn’t usually good. Invasive makes us think of foreign and choking out native species and taking over the landscape depriving native animals and plants of what is rightfully theirs. I’m not denying this can be true in extremes and I think the bulk of the blame here is on us, not the plants. There are some invasive plants that really shouldn’t be grown, ***COUGH Bradford Pear***** but what I can see in invasive plants is a desperation to help. We sounded the alarms and put out the bat signal and they’ve come in droves to help us but we can’t see the healing for the weeds. The very energy of invasive is to me, almost a panic. Think of the helicopter parent who is tripping over herself to get to get to her kid before it falls. Invasive plants can feel our pain, they are responding to all the signals. We malign them as the plants that “ate the south” or the obnoxious weeds that mess with our emerald green landscape. I see them as a legions coming to our aid, but they get louder and louder and more obnoxious if we ignore them and let them go to waste. Last time I spoke here I talked about my favorite the Dandelion an invasive plant from Russia that spread everywhere faster than Johnny Appleseed could ever dream but today I’ll talk about a different non native treat, the Mimosa Tree. known as the HAppy Herb.
Most of us see the Mimosa Tree alongside roads or new commercial buildings. It typically grows between 25- 35 feet, so it’s not too tall but it will spread 25 feet wide also. It’s a light wood and tends to split. It’s known for it’s incredible flowers, almost truffala like and it’s leaves. They are so easy to spot and once you know its you will see it everywhere. When I was a kid, the first mimosa plant I eve saw was when they were redoing the road and the interstate ramp where I lived. We were on a walk and I remember it vividly. The leaves weren’t like any other tree because they were so tiny and so very many of them almost like a fern. My grandmother showed me how they shrank away from touch and closed up. WHAT??? Actually most of the 400 species in the Mimosa family do this but the Albizia does it all at once and it’s subtle while the Pudica will do it one leaf at a time.
And even though the leaves can be mind blowing, it’s the flowers that stand out and put on a show. This is the mimosa calling card. Some might say they are over the top and are bound to make you notice them, even stop and touch because those puffs of pink are like puffs of silk threads inside a living blush brush. I love this description particularly because the over the top, look at me, notice me plant actually treats something that most people DO NOT want noticed. Those silky otherworldly flowers are used to treat anxiety and/or depression and most certainly grief and trauma. They treat illnesses and conditions that are taboo to speak of and that is better than Alanis Morisette’s idea of Ironic. I think there is a poetry in something so fabulous treating something so dark, something that grows in abundance treating something so many experience in solitude.
All varieties of the Mimosa come from Asia and Africa but I think it’s no coincidence that it grows so freely here in the South, a culture ripe with trauma, grief, repression and depression. I see this tree and see how’s it’s bending over to shower us in it’s healing powers because we need it. We have called out for help since European Contact 400 or so years ago and we’ve been invaded with an ally to heal. It is something we all could take advantage of.
The Albizia plant which grows soooo freely here can be used in a tincture or tea. You can harvest the flowers and the bark, grind it up or use it whole. I’ve done both. I feel called to use the flowers more because they scream FABULOUS and we can all use a little fabulous. TCM uses the bark and the flowers for adolescents, adults and the elderly. It is not used in young children or pregnant women or women trying to conceive. Mimosa flower is a safe treatment for dealing with emotions that still allows the person to feel, or even encourages the person to feel instead of bottling the emotions or becoming numb. It is used as a tincture or a tea. The tincture will be more potent.